If you want to bring your game to the next level, weight training for ultimate frisbee will accelerate your progress. Simply put, you become more physically capable of performing at a higher level when you put in the work to build a more powerful body.
Weight training is best seen as a wonderful compliment to your skill development as an ultimate frisbee player. From what I’ve seen, players who are involved in weight training (usually through CrossFit) tend to have an an advantage playing ultimate frisbee at the recreational level.
They tend to be stronger and faster than other beginner players without weight lifting experience. This makes it easier for them to get open for passes on offence, and to cover the field well on defence. And so these players tend to make more plays on the disc, which allows them to gain in-game experience faster than the average beginning player.
Weight Training for Ultimate Frisbee Versus Throwing
Of course, at the recreational level, handling skills trump athleticism. Teams that can’t throw can’t win. So make sure to put high priority on developing your throwing skills. Weight training for ultimate frisbee will do very little to improve your throwing ability.
That said, there’s a lot more to playing ultimate frisbee than just throwing. So if you want to become a dominant all-around force on the field, it all starts with actively improving your athleticism.
Specifically, focusing on improving how physically powerful an athlete you are will translate beautifully to in-game performance. Coordination is important too, but that tends to develop naturally the more you play. Players can become more coordinated players by just playing a lot of ultimate frisbee, but to become more athletic, weights help a lot.
In this article, we’re looking at how to become more powerful, more explosive, and more of a presence on the field. These are my favourite weight training exercises for developing a more powerful, athletic body for ultimate frisbee.
Weight Training Makes Ultimate Frisbee Players Powerful
Power is the combination of speed and strength. It’s being able to jump really high, sprint quickly and change directions suddenly.
Power is something that can be trained for specifically with or without weights. I’ve put together a plyometric bodyweight workout you can start with if you don’t have access to a gym, and don’t yet have your own weights.
If you haven’t tried plyometric training, you will experience fantastic benefits from doing the bodyweight exercises in the workout above. So be sure to check it out!
Now, if we’re talking about making you freakishly powerful on the frisbee field, we need to talk about lifting weights.
I don’t have a background as a professional trainer, so I don’t want to come across as one here. Think of me as a friend who has incorporated weight training into his life, gotten a lot out of it, and thinks you will likely also benefit from lifting weights. I’ll do my best to describe good technique, but it’s on you to get some instruction from a certified trainer!
Start Light While You Master Each Lift
What you won’t see here is the time I spent learning how to perform these lifts with good technique. During those initial years, I didn’t use much weight at all. My goal was to drill great technique into my muscle memory, and gradually I was able to increase the amount of weight I was putting on the bar.
Use very little weight at first, and concentrate on perfect form. I’ve been lifting for several years now, and my strength has gone up as my technique has improved. Don’t go too heavy too early, take it slow for best results here.
Counterintuitively, you improve faster by making slow increases to the amount of weight you’re lifting. Your technique will deteriorate if you try to lift too much. So aiming for perfect technique is the best way to avoid catastrophic injury!
Power Comes from HOW You Lift, Not WHAT You Lift
Developing explosive athletic power requires a slow eccentric (lowering) phase, and an explosive concentric (lifting) phase.
The lowering phase is where most of the “micro-tearing” occurs on your muscle fibres, so if you want your muscles to grow, go slow on the way down. Muscle growth is good, so go slow during the lowering portion of all lifts!
In ultimate frisbee, it’s not much use to apply your strength slowly. So, applying maximum force as quickly as possible is the goal during the concentric “lifting” portion of each exercise. This mimics in-game situations (like sprinting or jumping, but with extra weighted resistance added). So really give it everything you’ve got during the lifting motion.
Explosive Weight Training Exercises for Ultimate Frisbee Players
For all of the weight training movements that follow, do 5 sets of 5 repetitions, with lots of rest in between. Rest for at least 2 minutes between sets.
Power comes from executing lots of really high quality repetitions of a movement, usually over a longer period of time than a conventional workout. You should feel and strong and fresh going into each set of lifts.
Alright, you’ve made it this far, now let’s get you lifting like a beast!
Be sure to warm up with some skipping, ladder drills, leg raises, biking, or jumps to get your mind and body ready for the work ahead.
Update: This is the first time I’ve heard this, but when Robert Oberst says you shouldn’t do deadlifts, it may be worth listening to. For our purposes, I think as long as we’re keeping the weight on the lighter side, we should be OK. But at the same time, I like to keep risk low, so feel free to skip deadlifts altogether.
Make sure to read about proper recovery, supplements, and training frequency in my other workout article.
Track Your Workouts on a Calendar
The main battle when aiming for measurable physical gains is to be consistent over the long haul. To help with my own weight training for ultimate frisbee, I keep myself accountable using a calendar.
On the days I worked out, I check that day off on the calendar. That way, at a glance, I can see how my training is going. Most importantly, the very existence of the calendar makes it harder for me to forget my workouts for too many days in a row, and is my parachute against quitting completely.
Compliment Your Ultimate Frisbee Weight Training With Plyometrics
Weight training is a great way to improve your overall explosive strength for ultimate frisbee. In combination with your lifting efforts, make sure to blend in plyometric training.
Power = Speed x Strength
If weight training improves strength, think of plyometrics as a way to increase the speed aspect of the power equation. Check out my plyometric bodyweight workout!
Learn To Bomb Your Forehand
I’ve put together a free training video teaching you how to absolutely LAUNCH a forehand throw way farther than you ever have before.